Garth Jensen: What started your interest in drag, and who were your biggest inspirations?
Pandora Boxx: I find inspiration in so many people! I love when you see a beautiful woman who is a complete goofball. People like Goldie Hawn and Cameron Diaz or Jenny McCarthy. There are also the comic greats like Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, Madeline Kahn and Bea Arthur. I think Pandora is a big infused ball of great comedic ladies past and present.
GJ: You managed to be fun, flashy and entertaining on RuPaul's Drag Race without resorting to the pettiness that some of the other competitors have displayed this season. Was there any added pressure or anxiety for you to compete within that atmosphere?
PB: Yes there definitely was. I think you may be able to tell by the faces I make or some of the little comments I made who was really getting on my last nerve. In the end, I tried not to let some people's extremely negative behavior influence me. I wanted to be on RuPaul's Drag Race to get my drag out to a national audience and hopefully to make people laugh. It's all about karma, baby. The way some people chose to act on the show, I think, will eventually come back to bite them in their ass.
GJ: At TV Garth there's a lot of love for Rochester, NY televison stations! Can you tell me a bit about your former "day job" working at Rochester's WROC and WUHF?
PB: I was a video editor and photographer by day... I know, it sounds so butch! I don't work at the station anymore because I quit to do drag full time and travel. But I really enjoy editing and creating videos. I actually have my own internet show called "The GAY (means happy) SHOW!" that people can check out at youtube.com/gayshow. I love the creativity you can have when editing and watching something come to life!
Michael Steck, at his former job working on a WUHF promo.
GJ: I was quite impressed with the support you received earlier this year from WUHF when they showed a segment about you working for the station and your career as Pandora. How does that support feel, and what is the drag/gay scene in Rochester like overall?
PB: It was actually a bit of a process to get the story to run, but when it did it was the second highest viewed web video (preceded by a weather warning) and the station received so many e-mails supporting the story. So many people were glad that they were running a positive LGBT story on the news for a change. Everyone was running stories on Snooki coming to town but a hometown drag queen being on a hit TV show wasn't even on their radar. It was so great to finally have it run and have such a big payoff. It became not about me, it really became about representing our LGBT community. I'm very proud of it.
GJ: In addition to your fabulous performances, you're also a writer! What drives your creative process and what literary Boxx would you put yourself in?
PB: I love to write! When I was a shy kid, it was my only escape. I could write everything I was feeling. Now I write for fun! I recently wrote a play called "The Lipstick Massacre" which was produced in Rochester and had four sold out shows during its initial run. It came back to Rochester for 13 additional performances from May 27 to June 12 at the Geva Theatre Center. It was so exciting to see my play come to life and also star in the production. My next goal is to bring the play to NYC. It looks like NYC may actually happen, but we are still in the initial phases. Keep your fingers crossed everyone!
GJ: Season 2 of RuPaul's Drag Race recently aired in Canada on Out TV. (That season is currently being rerun on the network as well as streamed through their site.) Do you have anything you'd like to say to your Canadian audience?
PB: I love, love, love Canada! Rochester is about two to three hours away from Toronto and I visit there quite frequently. I truly love Toronto. It's a beautiful city.
GJ: I, along with many others, were very disappointed when you faced an early elimination on RuPaul's Drag Race. How did the outpouring of affection for you and fan support feel in the aftermath of that?
PB: It felt amazing. It truly did. I was just hoping people would care that I got kicked off and boy did they. Logo got quite a few hate e-mails! I am truly blown away by that outpouring of affection and I feel truly blessed to have so many people support me. Thank you everyone for making me feel great about getting kicked off! Ha!
GJ: After the elimination, you've been touring around America to many different cities. How has that been, and what's the craziest experience you've had while being on the road? As well, how can we get you to make a Canadian appearance?
PB: I have been a whirlwind tour across the States! I've been to so many places that I've never been before. I feel so lucky and thankful. I've visited so many amazing places and met even more amazing people. The traveling part can be a bit hectic, like when you have five hour delays. Yuck! But getting to meet all of the fans of the show and to see just how much people love it, is amazing! There are always touches of crazy wherever I go, but one of the oddest things said to me was by this guy in Baltimore who said, "I loved you on that Tyler Perry Show!" I'm wondering who the hell he thought I was... Madea? I hope not!
I would love, love, love to come to Canada! I love it so much there. All you have to do is find a venue who'll pay my fee and I'm there! I'm an easy whore. Ha!
GJ: You are currently appearing on the new Logo series RuPaul's Drag U. Can you tell me a bit about that show and what it has been like to appear on it?
PB: RuPaul's Drag U is a fabulous show where we transform biological women into drag queens. It's women who feel like they've lost their Inner Divas for some reason and through the art of drag we make them feel fabulous about themselves again, or in some cases for the first time ever. It was truly powerful. I am happy people are loving the show. Everyone wants to feel fabulous and that's what's at the heart of this show.
We shot the show while Drag Race was on the air so when I got eliminated I was doing Drag U. I was doing all these interviews about my elimination and they would ask if I was upset and I couldn't say, "Hell no! I'm on another show, bitch!"
I definitely felt more relaxed being on Drag U because I wasn't competing. Once I found out I couldn't be eliminated I said, sign me up!
A big thank you to Pandora Boxx for talking with TV Garth and a big thank you to Michael Barrett from Logo for helping set it up!
Check out Pandora online at http://www.PandoraBoxx.com, as well as her Twitter and You Tube! (And don't forget to check out Pandora's Gay Show, also on You Tube!)
(Photo credits: pandoraboxx.com / rochesterhomepage.net / logotv.com / thatguygil.com )